Year C
Proper 15
Sunday 18 August 2019


Eucharistic Preface


Let us lift up our hearts.
    We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for though our lives were a wasteland
you cherished us and gave us life again.

With a love-song, you sang the earth into existence,
and led your people from slavery through the Red Sea.
You planted them in a fertile land
and looked for a harvest of justice and righteousness.

When we returned only bloodshed and torment,
you sent your child, Jesus,
to be the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
His preaching kindled a fire
and divided the living from the dead.
He endured the cross, disregarding its shame
and was baptised in suffering and death.
You raised him to life and seated him at your right hand,
and are now strengthening us for the race before us,
so that with the faithful witnesses of all generations
we may receive your promises and be made perfect.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



Short Preface
(for insertion into Eucharistic prayers with fixed prefaces)

We thank you that though our lives were a wasteland
you cherished us and gave us life again,
sending your child, Jesus Christ,
to be the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you thanks and praise, O God,
for though our lives were a wasteland
you cherished us and gave us life again.

With a love-song, you sang the earth into existence,
and led your people from slavery through the Red Sea.
Your planted them in a fertile land
and looked for a harvest of justice and righteousness.

When we returned only bloodshed and torment,
you sent your child, Jesus,
to be the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
His preaching kindled a fire
and divided the living from the dead.
He endured the cross, disregarding its shame
and was baptised in suffering and death.
You raised him to life and seated him at your right hand,
and are now strengthening us for the race before us,
so that with the faithful witnesses of all generations
we may receive your promises and be made perfect.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Declaration of Grace / Absolution

Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
has endured the cross so that our sins will be forgiven
and we will be made perfect with the faithful of all ages.

Sisters and Brothers,
    your sins are forgiven;
        be at peace.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net




Commission & Benediction

Go now with your eyes on Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Lay aside the ways of sin,
bring forth a harvest of justice and righteousness,
and run with perseverance
the race that is set before us.

And may God turn to you and cherish you;
May Christ Jesus surround you with the light of his presence;
And may the Holy Spirit give you life and strength.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
    In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net






Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Proper 15 - Year C - Sunday 18 August 2019
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.


* Isaiah 5: 1-7

I’ll sing a story in song,
    a gift of love for my vine-growing friend.

My best friend began a vineyard;
    ideally situated on a sunny, fertile hillside.
He cleared the rocks, cultivated the soil,
    and planted top-grade vines.
He built a fully equipped winery,
    dug a cellar and installed a wine-press.
He had every reason to expect top-quality grapes,
    but the entire harvest was bitter and useless.

Come now, you who live in Jerusalem,
    and all you people of Judah;
who do you think is in the right:
    me or my vineyard?

Did I fall down on the job somewhere;
    what more could I have done for my vineyard?
Was I wrong to expect good quality grapes?
    Why did I get nothing but rubbish?

Well, I’m sick of that lousy vineyard.
    I’ll tell you what I’ll do to it:
I will rip down the fences
    and let the animals chew it up;
I will smash down the gates
    and let the passers-by stomp all over it.

I will leave it in ruins;
    trashed and abandoned;
    the weeds and blackberries will take over.
I will disconnect the water
    and pray that the rains steer clear.

Are you people getting the message?

The LORD who rules over everything
    is the vine-grower,
and you, the people of Israel and Judah
    are the carefully tended vineyard.
The LORD expected a harvest of justice,
    but violence broke out instead.
Where honesty and integrity should have flourished,
    there was nothing but the cries of the victims!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 80: 1-2, 8-19

God, you are the one who watches over your people
........like a lifeguard supervising a dangerous beach,
................watching from a high seat, like a king enthroned.
Listen to our prayer and clearly flag the boundaries,
........so that your tribes will no longer get out of their depth.

Up and at it, God!
........Come equipped to rescue us.

Remember how you brought us out of Egypt like a young grapevine,
........so that you could plant your own vineyard.
You cleared the land and prepared the soil;
........you planted our roots deep and we grew strongly.

We grew wide and high, bigger than the tallest trees,
........even shading the mountains.
Your vineyard grew and grew till it filled the land
........from the western ocean to the eastern river.

So why have you torn down the security fence,
........so that anyone can tramp through and pinch the fruit?
Wild pigs rampage through doing untold damage;
........feral goats and rabbits eat whatever’s left.

Come on, God! You rule over everything. Do something!
........Turn around and look at what’s going on.
This vine came from root stock you planted yourself;
........take charge of its welfare again.

Others have hacked and burned it
........to within an inch of its life.
Wipe them out
........with a single withering stare!

Take our side again, your wayward favourite child,
........the one you raised by hand to be your own.
We will never go off the rails again;
........save us now and your name will be on our lips forever.

LORD God, you rule over everything;
........Come and smile on us again;
................save us and revive us with your kiss of life.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Hebrews 11:29 - 12:2

........It was by exercising faith that the people of Israel were able to walk through the Red Sea as though it were dry land. The slave-drivers from whom they had escaped drowned when they tried to do the same thing.
........It was the exercise of faith that brought down the fortified walls of Jericho. The people of Israel encircled the city for seven days, trusting God, and the walls collapsed. Rahab the prostitute was exercising faith when she harboured the Israelite spies in her Jericho home. Because of her faith, her life was saved when those around her who had resisted God were killed.
........Need I go on? There is not enough time to tell the stories of all the great heroes of faith. The stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets — all of them well worth telling. Exercising faith, they did extraordinary things: they defeated world powers; put justice into practice; and won promises of loyalty. They closed the jaws of lions; put out raging fires; and escaped unscathed from savage violence. Although their positions seemed weak and vulnerable, they were given strength and became formidable warriors who successfully repelled invading armies. The things faith has achieved! Faith-filled women saw their dead loved ones raised back to life. Some faith-filled people even endured torture — refusing to cave in and go free — sustained by their confident expectation of the ultimate freedom that comes with resurrection. We have stories of others who were publicly humiliated and flogged, or locked up in chains. Others were battered to death with rocks, or sawn in half, or hacked to pieces. We know of others who lived as refugees; forced out into harsh isolated environments, deprived of their basic human rights, and constantly subjected to persecution and harassment. Dressed in rags, homeless, powerless, and shunned; they had to survive as best they could on the edges of a hostile and callous world — a world that did not deserve them!
........All these heroes received top marks for their faith, and yet even they did not see the completion of all God had promised. Why? Because God had even better ideas! God wanted us to be included in the story too, and so put everything on hold until we could all be made perfect at once.
........So, we are by no means running the race alone! The air around us is thick with encouragement — all these heroes who bore witness to the truth before us, cheering us on. So let’s strip down for the run that lies ahead, tossing aside everything that would hold us back, especially the sin that clings on so tenaciously. And then let’s get on with it — run and run and never quit until we’ve crossed the line. We can do it if we just keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, because he has led the way and become the first to complete this faith marathon. He was so focussed on the goal that he was able to push on through the pain barriers, enduring the agony and humiliation of the cross. He knew that the celebrations would make it all worth while, and sure enough, he now enjoys the number one seat of honour alongside God’s throne.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Luke 12: 49-56

    Jesus said, “Fire! I have come to torch the earth, and if I had my way it would be well and truly ablaze by now! And I am facing a baptism of fire myself – I will be immersed in the conflict and torment of a world going to hell and back. You can’t imagine the stress I’m bearing until it’s over! Do you think I am here to make everything peaceful and nice on earth? Wrong! I am not here to paper over the cracks, but to drive a wedge into them, opening them up for all to see. The hostility can no longer be concealed by family solidarity. The cracks will open up, dividing households:

three against two,
    and two against three;
father against son,
    and son against father;
mother against daughter,
    and daughter against mother;
mother-in-law against daughter-in-law,
    and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
    Speaking to the crowds, Jesus also said, “When you see dark clouds gathering in the western sky, you are quick to forecast rain, and you are spot on. And when you feel the wind blowing in from the desert in the morning, you say, ‘It’ll be stinking hot today,’ and of course, you are right. So don’t play dumb with me! You are perfectly capable of reading the signs to recognise when the weather is about to change, so what’s so difficult about reading the signs to make sense of what’s happening in the world right now?”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton 
LaughingBird.net



Alternative Hebrew Bible Lections themed to the Gospel Lection

* Jeremiah 23: 23-29

“What kind of God do you think I am?” says the LORD.
    “A pocket God who lives where you put me,
        or a God far beyond your grasp?”
“Can anyone find a secret hiding place
    where I won’t be able to see them?”
        says the LORD.
“Do I not fill the entire universe,
    heaven and earth alike?”

“I know perfectly well what those so-called prophets are saying. They preach lies, naming me as their authority, and claiming that I gave them messages in dreams and visions. How long will I have to put up with it? Will they never wake up to themselves, these snake-oil evangelists whose preaching is all a con-job motivated by their own twisted agendas? They trade their best lines and slimiest techniques with one another as they collude to persuade people to substitute other things for me, just as their ancestors substituted trendy fertility gods for me.”

“You prophets with your dreams:
    go ahead and rabbit on about them.
But let the prophet who truly has my word
    be bold and resolute in announcing my message.
The two are like chalk and cheese,”
    says the LORD.

“Don’t you know that my word is like a raging fire?
    says the LORD,
        “and like a sledgehammer that smashes rocks to pieces?”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net



* Psalm 82

Take action, God!
........Pass sentence on all those who judge and rule the earth.

Call them to account for their unjust decisions;
........expose their links to corruption and crime.

Order them to hand down justice to the deprived and abused,
........and to protect the rights of those seeking refuge.

Command them to represent the needy and the vulnerable,
........and to side with them against those who exploit them.

These judges and rulers don’t understand or care, God;
........they’ve got their heads in the sand
................while the world falls apart around them.

You, God, elevated them to office,
........and delegated your authority to them;
but they have betrayed your trust
........and will die disgraced.

Take action, God!
........Come and judge the earth!
................Reassert your control over all your nations!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net